Engaging with the out-of-home-care sector to produce better outcomes for children and families

blog | Words Kaci Oliphant | 01 Dec 2021

To truly make a difference in the lives of children and young people in care and their families, we must be a driving force in sector and system-wide change.

On the 19th October, Parkerville Children and Youth Care, in partnership with Innovation Unit, held a sector-wide co-design workshop, bringing together 15 different organisations/groups from the out-of-home care (OOHC) and related sectors including consumer representative bodies, peaks, ACCOs, OOHC service providers, disability service providers, leaving care service providers and young people with a care experience.

This workshop provided an opportunity to learn about the Radically Personalised Shared Care model, the co-design process Parkerville have been undertaking, and to contribute valuable feedback and insights as we continue to develop this model alongside the Parkerville team.

What happened?

Just shy of 60 workshop attendees were invited to engage with the Radically Personalised Share Care model, and to offer their feedback and insights from both expertise and lived experience. Participants were then asked to join one of several short breakout sessions, which took a deep dive into particular touchpoints in the model and offered people the opportunity to interact with prototypes, speak to the Family Link Workers who have already been hired as part of the project pilot, and to have critical conversations about what this kind of care work looks like on the ground.

Feedback from attendees was strongly positive, with representatives of the OOHC sector acknowledging the transparency with which Parkerville was sharing some radical work in progress. As the workshop emphasised, most of the ideas in this model are already being practiced by great carers in different parts of the system – in this room, there was an appreciation of the work Parkerville has done to bring those ideas together into a clear and consistent model of care that might start to shift practice in a positive direction.

Why did we do it?

This workshop was part of our shared commitment with Parkerville to ‘work out loud’ as we help them to design and embed their new model of care. From the very beginning of this project, Parkerville’s ambition has been for this project to make an impact beyond their own organisation, contributing to a broader shift across the OOHC sector towards care that centres each individual child or young person and which prioritises connection with family, culture and community on the road toward reunification. The sector workshop was another key step in socialising and beginning to scale the work we’re doing with Parkerville to achieve great outcomes across the sector.

What’s next?

As we move into 2022, we’ll continue to support Parkerville in their commitment to sharing and scaling this project. With a second Sector Workshop, engagement with government, and Aboriginal co-design sessions on the calendar, the coming year represents an exciting opportunity to make sure this important work goes beyond Parkerville and makes an impact for all kids in care in Western Australia.